Who's Leading the Way?

Last month, Vancouver planning commissioner Mike Klassen created the Axe the Carbon Consumption Tax Axers - a now defunct Facebook group supporting the Campbell administration's carbon tax. And now another such has such group has been formed - Lead the Way - to "stand up for the environment." According to the group's description, "What Carole James, the NDP, and other BC Carbon Tax dectrators don't understand is that this tax is bigger than just a tax - it's a tax aimed at changing the lifestyles of British Columbians." Indeed, according to group admin James Plett, "What the NDP has done has made the environment a political issue when it isn't - it is a moral issue, one that we should all actively want to fix. While the B.C. Liberals have enacted legislation to make BC a greener place, the NDP has done absolutely nothing - not just nothing in fact, but the exact opposite. The NDP has, by voting against every piece of green legislation introduced, voted against the environment." Harsh words, indeed - although perhaps not surprising. After all, Mr. Plett is the young provincial Liberal's communications director. The following is a complete copy of the group's description.

BC's Carbon Tax, first announced in February of this year, takes effect July 1st - Canada Day - 2008. This is an historic milestone not just for BC, but for all of North America - the first tax of its kind on the continent.

This tax adds on a mere 2.4 cents per litre to the price of gasoline - literally mere pennies compared to the tax benefits this revenue neutral carbon tax will grant the citizens of British Columbia:

*As of 2009, British Columbians earning up to $111,000 will pay the lowest personal income taxes.
*The two lowest personal income tax rates will be reduced by 2% as of July 1 - this cut will rise to 5% in 2009 on the first $70,000 in earnings, and this cut is expected to rise further by 2010.
*The small business tax rate will be reduced from 4.5% to 3.5% (as of July 1), and from 3.5% to 2.5% in 2011.
*All residents in BC (as of December 31, 2007) will receive a $100 Climate Action Dividend to spend as they see fit (hopefully to help the environment!) - parents of children under 18 years of age will receive $100 for each child.
*Lower income families will receive an annual payment of $100 per adult and $30 per child - this number will rise in 2009 by 5% and expected to go even higher in subsequent years; finally
*BC will have the lowest business tax of any G8 country (the G8 consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK, and the USA)

This carbon tax will cost the average family of four $25 extra dollars to drive 20,000 - this same family will save $45 in income tax, which means that they earned $20 - and this figure does not include the Climate Action Dividend that each person will receive!

According to the numbers, this tax is spectacular! Sure, you pay a little more at the pump, but this tax is designed to help encourage people to make smarter, more energy efficient choices, and by raising gas prices, this tax can only discourage people from buying gas - and encourage them to use alternate means (take the bus, ride a bike, telecommute, walk - the choices are endless!)

What Carole James, the NDP, and other BC Carbon Tax detractors don't understand is that this tax is bigger than just a tax - it's a tax aimed at changing the lifestyles of British Columbians. It isn't about dollars and cents, it's about the environment.

What the NDP has done has made the environment a political issue when it isn't - it is a moral issue, one that we should all actively want to fix. While the B.C. Liberals have enacted legislation to make BC a greener place, the NDP has done absolutely nothing - not just nothing in fact, but the exact opposite. The NDP has, by voting against every piece of green legislation introduced, voted against the environment.

Stand up for BC and stand up for the environment - help BC lead the way and support the carbon tax.

1 Comment

Like the BC Min of Finance website, Plett deliberately uses wording which implies that the income tax cuts are larger than they are. Plett says, "The two lowest personal income tax rates will be reduced by 2% as of July 1 – this cut will rise to 5% in 2009 on the first $70,000 in earnings, and this cut is expected to rise further by 2010."

But as has been explained elsewhere, what is actually happening is this. The rate is cut by 2%. No, not two percentage points, but rather 2% of the rate. So if your tax rate is now 5.5%, you don't go down to 3.5%, rather you get a 0.11 percentage point reduction (2% of 5.5%) to a new rate of 5.39%. It's an amazingly misleading bit of wording and I am frankly shocked that Min of Finance professionals would have agreed to this, which is obviously ad adman/spin doctor's bit of trickery. After all, BC Finance has employed some extremely professional and non-partisan experts over the years, such as Paul Taylor and Carol Frketich, so surely everyone would agree with me that this kind of cheesiness is out of character for Finance.

All in all, it sounds like Plett's screed was ghost-written by the same high-fivin' yahoos in the Premier's office who've been writing Mark Jaccard's op-ed pieces in the CanWest papers.

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